Mark 1:20 tells us that when Jesus called them, James and John, those redoubtable Sons of Thunder, left their share of the fishing partnership to father Zebedee and “the hired men.” Luke 5:7 notes that Simon Peter (Andrew seems to have been in the boat with him) “signaled their partners in the other boat” to help them with the enormous school of fish they had taken from class. It’s likely that those partners were James, John and Zebedee.
That sounds more like a fishing corporation than isolated fishermen trawling Galilee’s depths. An aside by John in 18:15 reinforces a social acceptance of Zebedee’s family denied Simon Peter. John, “known to the high priest,” entered that person’s courtyard, while Simon waited outside for John to gain him entrance. That strongly implies at least acceptance, perhaps influence, Zebedee’s family had in high social circles. Could he have been a relative of the High Priest? Could he have been a Levite? (Not all Levites served in the temple.) Or related to the High Priest by marriage, John’s mother providing the entrée?
John revealed nothing more than the tantalizing facts of history, an appropriate touch in an utterly historical book recording the life of an utterly historical Jesus Christ.